Wales’ largest onshore wind farm is officially unveiled
WALES’ largest onshore wind farm which can generate enough electricity for nearly one in six Welsh homes - has been opened.
The 76-turbine Pen y Cymoedd wind farm between Aberdare and Neath was officially opened yesterday by First Minister Carwyn Jones.
It comes just days after Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths said she wanted Wales to generate 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The wind farm has been built by Swedish energy group Vattenfall.
Yesterday Vattenfall president and CEO Magnus Hall told Mr Jones he hoped for the chance to build more, saying: “We are in Wales to grow.”
He added: “Pen y Cymoedd boosts Wales’ drive to carbon reduction, it accelerates Vattenfall’s shift to be fossil free in a generation and it helps the Welsh economy to grow.
“Vattenfall and our contractors have spent £220m in the Welsh economy since construction started in 2014, 52% of the total investment we have made in Pen y Cymoedd.
“That is quite an achievement and one we will want to repeat if we get the chance to build other wind farms in Wales. We are in Wales to grow.”
The three-year construction project for the 228 megawatt project has secured work for more than 1,000 workers in Wales.
The First Minister said: “Wind power is a key part of our efforts to build a sustainable low carbon economy for Wales. I am pleased we were able to support this project, which has shown how the local community, the Welsh economy and people right across the country can benefit from such a scheme.”
Pen y Cymoedd will employ 23 skilled wind farm technicians and support staff from the local workforce over the next 20 years.
Huw Jones, chairman of Jones Bros Civil Engineering which built the scheme in a joint venture with Balfour Beatty, said: “Pen y Cymoedd has been a fantastic contract, not only for the business, but also our 350 employees and their families. Around 90% of our employees are Welsh, and it’s fantastic that so much of the investment into the Pen y Cymoedd workforce has been going straight back into the Welsh economy via their pay packets.
“To be able to work on more onshore wind farms in Wales would mean more good news for the business and the Welsh families it supports.”
Diane McCrea, chairwoman of Natural Resources Wales which manages the land on which the wind farm is built, said: “The environment is our most valuable natural asset and Pen y Cymoedd, constructed on land NRW manages on behalf of the Welsh Government, is an excellent example of the right development in the right place.
“We have worked closely with Vattenfall to deliver this project, which not only stimulates positive economic change for Wales, but also puts NRW at the forefront of Welsh Government’s low carbon economy, climate change and green growth programmes - all aligned to our purpose of managing the environment and natural resources sustainably.”
In an average year, Pen y Cymoedd will power the equivalent of 188,000 UK homes, about 15% of Welsh households.
Operational since spring 2017, the project will have paid back its carbon footprint by 2020 and will continue generating fossil fuel free electricity till at least 2037.
Pen y Cymoedd will displace in an average year more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuelled generation, based on current levels of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.